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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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This is a question pertaining what you are allowed to say in

Customer Question

This is a question pertaining what you are allowed to say in your own home in Califonia, specifically in this case, it was spoken to vent my frustration over a very difficult situation at home. It was spoken in an emotional state and in my bedroom. I was venting to the effect of getting a gun and just wait 10 days and all our problems will be fixed. Days later, my husband called the police and asked them if there is a way he can force me to go to a hospital because I have not been eating, in the course of that conversation, he mentioned that he is worried that I made reference about the gun. From that point on, the Police took over, it didn't matter why he called them anymore because the word "gun" is mentioned. Half an hour after the call, a number of Police Officers showed up in my bedroom, I was in bed and in my pyjamas, they forced me to get out of bed and called an ambulance and told me I can go on my own or they can carry me. My husband was NOT allowed to be in the ambulance or the bedroom, my clothes and purse were searched for weapons before I was allowed to change into them. The paramedics strapped me TIGHTLY to a gurney and talked to me, they said to me: if I were you, I'll be real pissed. They took me to the County Psychiatric Hospital for evaluation. 2-3 mins after I talked to the attending psychiatrist, he released me. The staff there took pic of me while I was on the gurney for purpose of making an ID for me, they asked and took photo copy of my driver's license and insurance card because they are going to send me the bill. As I walked out of the hospital, the attendant in the lobby, same person who took my pic to make a photo ID for me, said you are released already, I am still making an ID for you. Did my rights get violated?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
My husband and I were not told where the paramedics will be taking me. I was told after I got inside the ambulance. I thought my husband would be allowed to accompany me in the ambulance to the hospital but he was not. After the ambulance left, my husband asked the police officer where they are taking me, the officer called the paramedics and he told him that they are taking me to the county psychiatric hospital, my husband then drove to the hospital and met me at the lobby, he was not allowed in. After I was released, he called the attending psychiatrist about his evaluation of me, my husband was not asked to verify his ID, all my husband said was: my wife was just brought in for an evaluation, what is your evaluation of her, the attending psychiatrist freely disclosed his evaluation of me to him and concluded I was just venting. Patient's right violation?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 11 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.

I am sorry to learn of this situation, The basis for your transport to the psychiatric facility was under California Health and Safety Code 5150 which permits law enforcement to temporarily place an individual who is a threat to themselves or others under involuntary commitment.

Based on what you stated ("Go to a store, get a gun and wait 10 days") this could be construed as a threat against either yourself or others - with both an intent and a specific plan.

Without knowing exactly what all of the facts of your case were (I wasn't there when the officers were, and I wasn't a party to the conversation that your husband had with the officers when he was concerned about your health and welfare), this statement could easily be construed as a threat to you or to someone else.

The procedure - placing you under civil commitment, then transporting you by ambulance to a facility that specializes in psychiatric treatment - is appropriate for this kind of hold (you were not inappropriately jailed, you were not forced to take medications you did not want, and you were not held beyond the time frame for a 5150 (which allows a 3 day hold), without an appropriate evaluation (these can be extended to a 5250 - a 10 day hold pending a hearing with the court which can be extended to a 5350 12 month hold).

Again, I am very sorry to hear about this situation, and I do hope that things are going better for you and your husband now. But based only on what you posted here, I do not see any violation of rights.